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A guide to Small Business Credit Card Terminals

19 January 2018 Product Information

Choosing the right card terminal can be tricky – but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This short guide will find a card terminal that’s perfect for your business, whether you take payments from a sales counter, around your business premises, or on the go. Discover our handy tips on picking the right card terminal for your business.


What are the benefits of using a credit card terminal?

A card terminal will improve your business, it’s that simple. With more and more people using plastic to pay for things, a terminal will help you make the most of every sales opportunity. Many customers now expect card to be a payment option wherever they go, so it’s important to cater for their needs. Turning customers away isn’t an option.

The figures speak themselves, we’re accelerating towards a cashless society. In 2017, card overtook cash as the UK’s primary form of payment with over 50% of all retail purchases made by card. In 2018, it’s estimated that more than 75% of all face-to-face payments will be made by plastic.


Which credit card terminal is best for a small business?

There are three main types of small business card terminals – countertop, portable and mobile. Picking the right one depends on the nature of your business. Don’t worry, we’ll point you in the right direction.

You’ll need a card terminal that accepts all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Consider a terminal that supports Contactless, Apple Pay and Android Pay – these have become increasingly popular amongst consumers. A total of 108.4m Contactless cards are now issued in the UK. The more types of payment you accept the better. As mentioned, why turn customers away?

What are the main types of card terminals available?

Countertop card terminals

Take card payments at your till

Countertop card machines work from a fixed location – perfect for retailers, cafés and beauty parlours, businesses where transactions are processed from a sales counter.

Countertop card machines work reliably, using connectivity via dial up (your phone line) or through an Ethernet cable (broadband). Get started by connecting to either port, so you’re covered if one line goes down.

Additionally, a countertop card machine has a small footprint helping it fit neatly on most counters.


Portable card terminals

Take card payments around your premises

Portable card machines allow you to take card payment to your customers – perfect for restaurants, pubs, bars, coffee shops and hairdressers.

Portable card machines give you flexibility with your payments. You can process cards away from your counters within a wireless range of up to 100m – it’s down to a built-in Bluetooth/Wi-Fi technology. With more freedom to move, you can settle the bill at your customers’ table or from an outdoor seating area. A light compact design is easy to carry around, so you won’t be weighed down. The built-in long-life battery also allows you to take payments all day long.


Mobile card terminals

Take card payments anywhere in the UK

Mobile card machines are perfect for taking payments on the move – ideal for taxis, couriers, delivery services, trade fairs or even exhibitions.

Mobile card machines have a SIM card pre-installed just like a mobile phone, so you can take the device out and about – this requires a phone signal. Some terminals work using an app on a smartphone, this kind of package will include a Bluetooth connected chip and PIN keypad.

Most mobile card machines are designed to be lightweight yet robust, so when you’re on the move, you don’t have to worry about bumps and scrapes. Our mobile card machines come with the fastest printers on the market, helping you serve customers quicker than ever. Plus, just like portable card machine, you get long-life battery so you can serve all day.


Integrated payment terminals

Take fast, smart payments with less mistakes

Many of our terminals can be integrated. This means we create a seamless link between the terminal and your electronic till or EPoS (Electronic point of sales). Data flows between the devices, helping you eliminate miskeyed transactions and the need to write off revenue. You can also reduce queues with a faster, seamless end-to-end experience. Learn more about integrated payments


Virtual terminals

Take card payments over the phone

Technically, a virtual terminal isn’t a card terminal but it’s a viable option for many businesses. Think of it as an online card machine. A virtual terminal is a web-based payment system – perfect for processing over-the-phone card transactions. And you don’t even need a company website to get one.


How to get a small business card terminal

Now you know more about the devices, you’ll need to know how to get a terminal. There are three options.

  • Rent a terminal from an acquirer. The terminal rental is usually charged on a monthly basis plus VAT. You’ll also be provided terminal support in case it malfunctions; and ensure it has the most up to date software to process transactions.
  • Alternatively, you could source your own terminal from a number of retailers. This can be difficult as some card terminal brands might not be supported by your card payments provider.
  • Another option is through merchant services (like us) – who give you a more personalised service with 24/7 customer support. We set you up with a merchant account in just 3 days (only 24hrs to accept online card payments) – this is quicker than any of our competitors. Plus, if you have any issues with your terminal, we’ll get a replacement to you in just 24 hrs.

Discover how card payments work with our complete guide to accepting card payments as a small business.

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.